Green Wheels gath­er­ing speed

Aus­tralia’s emis­sions web­site is a hit, writes NEILMcDONALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

NEW-CAR buy­ers are slowly warm­ing to a web­site that al­lows them to as­sess the green­house emis­sions of all the latest mod­els sold in Aus­tralia. The Green Wheels site has taken 14,000 hits in its first few weeks on­line and mo­men­tum is build­ing.

The joint ini­tia­tive of Fu­ture Cli­mate Aus­tralia, the RACV and EPA Vic­to­ria, ranks ve­hi­cles by their green­house-gas emis­sions and pro­vides in­for­ma­tion about tech­nolo­gies and fu­els and how th­ese af­fect cli­mate change.

Not sur­pris­ingly, the Honda Civic and Toy­ota Prius hy­brids per­form well, but even light cars such as the Honda Jazz, Mit­subishi Colt and diesels such as the Peu­geot 207 HDi rank highly, too.

Fu­ture Cli­mate Aus­tralia ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Henry O’Clery says re­sponse has been good.

‘‘It’s slowly get­ting un­der way, but once word spreads I’m sure it will snow­ball,’’ he says. ‘‘At present most peo­ple don’t know it ex­ists.’’

O’Clery says that though pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles con­trib­ute only about 8 per cent of green­house­gas emis­sions in Aus­tralia, a con­certed ef­fort to re­duce emis­sions is cru­cial across all in­dus­try sec­tors.

‘‘In rat­i­fy­ing the Ky­oto pro­to­col, Aus­tralia has sig­nalled its in­ten­tion to get se­ri­ous about green­house-gas emis­sions,’’ he says.

Aus­tralia’s av­er­age emis­sion rat­ing for new cars sold in 2006 was 230g a kilo­me­tre. In Europe it was 161g.

‘‘Clearly the mar­ket is out of con­trol so we have a long way to go with get­ting this in­creas­ingly crit­i­cal mes­sage about re­duc­ing emis­sions, whether its to the pub­lic or fleet man­agers,’’ he says.

The web­site pro­vides a guide to the best­per­form­ing cars and in­cludes small, medium, and large cars, off-road­ers, utes and light trucks.

Ve­hi­cles in each class whose emis­sions rat­ings come within 25 per cent of the best per­former in that class are il­lus­trated with a low-emis­sion-ve­hi­cle green tick, spe­cially well-per­form­ing ve­hi­cles are clearly flagged.

‘‘Green Wheels is easy to use and in three sim­ple steps shows users how to se­lect a ve­hi­cle that com­ple­ments their lifestyle needs with­out ex­ces­sive green­house im­pact,’’ he says.

O’Clery says the in­volve­ment of key play­ers in­clud­ing ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers and other stake­hold­ers in the Green Wheels um­brella body, the Low Emis­sion Ve­hi­cle part­ner­ship, demon­strates the strong level of sup­port.

Toy­ota, Honda, Peu­geot, Re­nault, Holden, Shell, Miche­lin, Vi­cRoads, the In­ter­na­tional Coun­cil for Lo­cal En­vi­ron­men­tal Ini­tia­tives, the VACC and the Com­mit­tee for Melbourne are be­hind it.

Part­ner: the Peu­geot 207 XT HDi tur­bod­iesel, part of the Low Emis­sion Ve­hi­cle part­ner­ship.

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